An Exchange on Gay Christians (Part III)

Read Part I of "An Exchange on Gay Christians"
Read Annie's response to Part I.
Read Part II of "An Exchange on Gay Christians"
Read Annie's response to Part II.

Replace "homosexual" with "pedophile"

Why?? Homosexuals are consenting and sometimes loving adults. Pedophiles are predators in a relation that cannot be consensual.

In my view, homosexuality and pedophilia are both psychological disorders of unknown pathologies. The difference between the objects of disordered affections is mostly accidental (in the philosophical sense). Obviously, pedophilia is a much more serious problem because children cannot consent to sex with an adult. Look at it from the sufferer's standpoint, though. If the neurological manifestations and/or causes of pedophilia and homosexuality are similar (an empirically testable hypothesis), shouldn't they be treated similarly? Pedophiles and other sexual deviants are subject to arrest and conviction, but homosexuals are increasingly treated as just another expression of human diversity. I think there's a fundamental failure in logic in that disparity. I'm not advocating decriminalizing child abuse or criminalizing active homosexuality. However, I do not believe that we can just wave our hands and declare that homosexuality is "normal" simply because those affected by it can reciprocate each other's desires.

Kleptomania and criminal violence also wreak injury on others. That's what makes them crimes. I can't believe what a huge leap you're making.

You assume that homosexual activity does not wreak psychological and/or spiritual injury.

Do you have any gay family members or friends?

Nope.

there is the notion of oral law/tradition. Not all that is binding need be recorded explicitly in Scripture.

Then it could be anything enough of you wanted it to be.

Is that English? 😉  You certainly aren't the first to suggest that belief in Sacred Tradition can lead to rationalization and justification of anything and everything. This might be true if it weren't for the fact that, at least in Catholicism/Orthodoxy, Tradition cannot contradict Scripture.

Do you believe I am a bigot?

I believe you have a visceral revulsion against homosexuality that you may be dressing up in religious clothing. Just the fact that you use the word "poisons" . . . A lot of people share that revulsion, but I wonder if it doesn't precede rather than issue from your devotion to your religion, and find welcome justification in the latter.

I won't deny finding homosexuality revolting. However, whether the revulsion came before the religious arguments is irrelevant. Revulsion or lack thereof on my, or anyone else's, part does not add or detract from the religious arguments against gay love. To say, "You find X's behavior revolting so your argument fails" is a logical fallacy.

"Bigot" is a name-calling word that doesn't have much meaning to me. A bigot to me would be someone who just reacts, doesn't think, and that's not you. (I think this is a matter of feeling, not thinking.)

I'm not sure I follow. Do you mean that my stance against homosexuality is due to some sort of affective immaturity? (Immaturity is a placeholder. I wrote and deleted a dozen words that failed to capture the impression I'm getting from you.)

Here's another interesting read: the series which begins here with this statement:

I'm going to argue that when sociomoral disgust/contamination structures the issue it is psychologically IMPOSSIBLE to both loathe the sin and love the sinner.

It's more thoughtful than polemical; I don't think you'll feel it is attacking or condemning your point of view. It might be worth blogging on.

I'll hopefully have time to read it soon.

From what you quote of Hogan and LeVoir, any nonprocreative act of love, including heterosexual, shades into sin.

Yes and no. A sexual act must, per se, be procreative. That is, it must be a procreative sort of act. Gay sex cannot be procreative. There is another factor, though. Sex is a marital act. The only suitable participants in a martial union are one man and one woman. The Church teaches that marriage, and therefore intercourse, must be unitive and procreative. Attention to either aspect should not be allowed to do violence to the other. For a much more thorough examination of human sexuality, I again suggest reading JPII's Love and Responsibility and Theology of the Body. Christopher West has written an excellent companion to the latter called Theology of the Body Explained.

Reproduction (creating in God's image) is the only thing that redeems sexual desire from the taint of sin. From one point of view that's a commendably stern and pure worldview — which is why it's been honored in the breach since time immemorial and bred long lines in front of the confessional :). It certainly assures that all who believe it will feel forever guilty and sinful. There were times in the history of the church when that was good business practice as well as good theology.

The Church does not teach that sex is dirty and must be made clean through reproduction, at least not anymore. Far from being sinful, sex is sacred and must be treated appropriately. Sexuality is a holy gift from God and a manifestation of how we are made in His image and likeness. Contrary to popular belief, the Church, unlike many Protestant denominations (which border on Manichaeism or Jansenism in how they regard sexuality), has a very high view of sex. For an excellent summary of Catholic sexual ethics in layman's terms, I whole-heartedly recommend Christopher West's Good News About Sex and Marriage, chapter 8 of which answers questions regarding the Church's teachings on homosexuality.

Pax Christi,
Eric

Comments 34

  1. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Eric, I’m going to have to depart from you here. Homosexuality and pedophilia (sex with pre-pubescent children of either sex) are not comparable. While both are disordered, they are not disordered in the same way. Pedophilia is sexual desire oriented to an object not suited to sexual desire. It is comparable to bestiality or sexual attraction to inanimate objects (I don’t know that this one pops up much). Homosexuality is a sexual desire oriented to an object suited to sexual desire, just not by this particular subject. Normal people can’t view children as sex objects. It is a disorder in the subject to be able to do so. Normal people can evaluate the sexual appeal of members of their own gender. That such evaluations lead to sexual desire in homosexuals is the disorder. Attraction is about more than knowledge. Knowing someone is attractive doesn’t make you attracted to him/her. The homosexual is attracted to an object (in the philosophical sense) who can’t sustain the desired good. The disorder of homosexual acts is in the disjunction between the desire and the fulfillment. The couple desires sexual union (of the emotional sort), but this is only imperfectly available to them. Also bear in mind that for a homosexual the desire is not inherently inordinate. A homosexual can be moderate in sexual things just as easily as a homosexual. What a gay man wants is a wife who is male (not necessarily an effeminate wife; often enough a very masculine wife). That men can’t be wives is the problem.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that (unlike kleptomania) homosexuality is not compulsive. Or at least no more compulsive than heterosexuality. No one chooses to be gay. However, it is a choice whether or not to act on those attractions. Homosexuals are fully capable of continence. They don’t have to have sex any more than the rest of us. Also bare in mind that the Church doesn’t demand celibacy from homosexuals. What it demands is for sex to occur only in marriage. If a homosexual wants to get married, that’s fine with the Church. Of course, he/she can only marry a member of the opposite sex. We didn’t say they would want to get married, just that they could. (It would be best in such situations to let one’s fiancee know beforehand about one’s attractions). I’ve actually met a gay man who is married (i.e., to a woman). He didn’t fully accept his homosexuality until after his marriage. He is, nonetheless, married.

    If only to lend myself some credibility, it should be noted that I don’t have “a visceral revulsion against homosexuality”. Once upon a time I was liberal and supported gay marriage (I actually decided who to vote for on “gay rights” from time to time). I continue to have a soft spot for the “gay rights” line. None of this, however, can dissuade me from the conviction that homosexual acts are intrinsically immoral.

    Of course, let’s no bash visceral reactions. Sometimes (most of the time, actually) they’re based on much firmer ground than logical arguments. Logic can fail (look at all the fallacies your opponents are always making 😉 ), yet the only way gut instinct fails is if it’s malformed.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 11:20 am
  2. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Homosexuality and pedophilia (sex with pre-pubescent children of either sex) are not comparable.”

    What little I learned of cognitive psychology and neuroscience in courses I’ve taken leads me to believe that all sexual deviations have similar pathologies and the relative inappropriateness of the objects of desire is culturally determined.

    “Normal people cant view children as sex objects. It is a disorder in the subject to be able to do so. Normal people can evaluate the sexual appeal of members of their own gender.”

    Borrowing the ephebophilia example you used in a previous comment, I would argue that inability to view children as sex objects is at least partially culturally determined. Furthermore, I would question a normal person’s ability to view members of the same sex as sex objects. That is, I do not believe heterosexuals would be very good at determining what makes members of their own gender to those of the opposite without significant feedback from the opposite sex. Anecdotal evidence from my own experiences suggests that members of both sexes are very often perplexed by what the other finds attractive.

    I think ultimately, the ability to evaluate the sexual appeal of potential objects of sexual satisfaction is proportional to the nearness of the object to one’s own inclinations. The less the object resembles what one finds attractive, the harder it is to evaluate its attractiveness to those with different inclinations.

    “Another thing to keep in mind is that (unlike kleptomania) homosexuality is not compulsive. Or at least no more compulsive than heterosexuality.”

    The trouble with analogies is that they all fail when stretched too far. I only meant to point out that just because an inclination is innate or congenital does not and should not make it desirable or socially acceptable.

    “No one chooses to be gay.”

    That has not been proven empirically.

    “Also bare in mind that the Church doesnt demand celibacy from homosexuals. What it demands is for sex to occur only in marriage. If a homosexual wants to get married, thats fine with the Church.”

    Good point.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 11:49 am
  3. Funky Dung wrote:

    Please consider commenting on the posts at Ambivablog. There are different related conversations going on over there that could benefit from your participation.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 12:11 pm
  4. Tom Smith wrote:

    “‘No one chooses to be gay.’

    That has not been proven empirically.”

    Whether or not homosexuality is chosen, and whether or not its status as chosen or unchosen is empirically demonstrated, is not salient to the debate. Also, I question how one would go about empirically “proving” such hypotheses. We’re dealing with questions of the soul here; I doubt very much that cutting brains apart in labs will demonstrate anything.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 3:38 pm
  5. Funky Dung wrote:

    Actually, it’s very salient. Many regard homosexuality as just another example of the panoply of human diversity. It is as natural as blue eyes and should no more be discriminated against than skin color should. I, on the other hand, am arguing that if it is natural, it is only so in the same way that any neuro-psychological defect is. It should be cured/treated, not embraced as normal and healthy.

    Also, if there are people who actually have chosen to be gay, they are far more culpable for their sinful actions than those who have not.

    Anyhow, for the sake of argument, let’s assume that no one chooses to be attracted to teh same same sex. They certainly do choose to act on those attractions. To have homosexual tendencies is not the same as to be gay, or at least so I’ve been told by celebate gays.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 4:02 pm
  6. Tom Smith wrote:

    “Anyhow, for the sake of argument, lets assume that no one chooses to be attracted to teh same same sex.”

    Hence, it is indeed not salient to the argument whence homosexuality springs forth; we should assume, for the sake of this argument, that homosexuality is not chosen; thence, we may proceed with the debate. I always wanted to use “hence,” “thence,” and “whence” in the same sentence.

    “To have homosexual tendencies is not the same as to be gay, or at least so Ive been told by celebate gays.”

    That’s merely a matter of semantics, and therefore unimportant in this debate.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 4:10 pm
  7. Funky Dung wrote:

    “we should assume, for the sake of this argument, that homosexuality is not chosen”

    OK, so one question relevant to this debate is whether homosexuality’s natural origins make it part of normal, healthy human diversity or a member of the class of disorders/defects.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 4:15 pm
  8. Stuff wrote:

    I wasn’t sure where else to post this, so it may seem out of place, but I want to address a fine point that’s been bothering me about the debates. I can’t at this point pinpoint where the notion first cropped up, but many seem to be assuming that celibacy is a sort of default calling to sexual union. As in, if someone feels called to the priesthood and/or religious life, the biggest obstacle they might face to accepting such a vocation is giving up the prospect of physical, conjugal union with a spouse. Now, it’s my understanding (and this view has been affirmed by more than one good priest) that celibacy and the priesthood/religious life are separate and distinct callings, and that in a perfect world, one would choose celibacy first and alone (i.e. many saints have dedicated their virginity to God very young in life) before discerning a vocation to priesthood, religious life, or just remaining single.

    This point is very nicely addressed by JPII in the Theology of the Body and Christopher West in his books about the above. As humans we are created to be self-giving, and the most natural means is to give to another like ourselves. However, our absolute highest calling is to give ourselves over totally (body, mind, soul) to God Himself, so in reality, the desire for/calling to sexual union is the default option, and celibacy holds the much higher value.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 5:20 pm
  9. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Merely because something arises from nature doesn’t make it good. There are three possible origins for homosexual inclinations: 1. the natural workings of the human body 2. the free choices of rational creatures (a. humans, b. angels, or c. demons) or finally 3. God.

    Now, if God made people have homosexual attractions that would make the attractions good. It seems unlikely, however, that God would do this as the fulfillment of these desires is evil. Now there may be secondary benefits to having homosexuals in the world (it seems many homosexuals are more artistic; insert joke about musical theater here). Nonetheless, it doesn’t seem like God.

    Rational creatures could be involved. Angels don’t seem to act apart from the direct will of God, so they’re out. That leaves demons (tempting people to sin, which would be bad) and people causing homosexuality either in themselves (which doesn’t seem good) or in others (which is probably not good either).

    Finally, it could be that nature conditions homosexual attraction. If so, the situation is outside of morality. Blindness isn’t immoral (although it is bad). Some natural “defects” come with benefits. Take sickle-cell anemia, the gene for which also immunizes against malaria. Now, dying from sickle-cell anemia is bad, but not dying from malaria is good. Thus the trait isn’t purely bad like blindness.

    Finally, we must keep in mind, homosexual attractions are not evil anymore than a tendency to become angry is evil. Anger is evil; sodomy is evil. Tending towards these things isn’t. People with homosexual tendencies simply are tempted to an evil act others just aren’t. Some people aren’t tempted to anger. That doesn’t make people who are diseased.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 5:51 pm
  10. Tom Smith wrote:

    “OK, so one question relevant to this debate is whether homosexualitys natural origins make it part of normal, healthy human diversity or a member of the class of disorders/defects.”

    I can see where one could think that the origins of homosexuality play a part in the moral quality of homosexual action, but the point doesn’t seem, to me anyway, immediately relevant to the situation of gays in the life of the Church — perhaps I don’t understand the point of the discussion?

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 6:26 pm
  11. amba wrote:

    Now, if God made people have homosexual attractions that would make the attractions good. It seems unlikely, however, that God would do this as the fulfillment of these desires is evil.

    There’s something weirdly circular about that argument that I can’t quite put my finger on.

    It seems to be saying, “I believe fulfillment of homosexual attractions is evil, therefore God couldn’t have made them.” Are you placing yourself above God? Better reread the book of Job

    “Hast thou commanded the morning since thy days; and caused the dayspring to know his place; . . .

    Hast thou perceived the breadth of the earth? declare if thou knowest it all.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 8:12 pm
  12. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Do you not know that the circle is the perfect shape, and therefore circular logic is the perfect logic?

    You are right- this is a bit circular. However, the reason I assume homosexuality to be immoral is because a whole host of other things are. Add fornication (outside of marriage) to contraception (non-procreative) and you get sodomy.

    Also, if you argue that homosexual relations are all right, should sodomy and manual stimulation still be immoral for heterosexual couples? If so, then why are they alright for gay couples? If not, then why would masturbation and contraception still be wrong?

    Do you get my point? Catholic sexual ethics is tapestry. Remove one thread and the whole thing begins to unravel.

    Posted 29 Jun 2006 at 8:20 pm
  13. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Funky –

    Re: Homosexuality and Pedophilia – Pedophilia is rape. We assume that children cannot consent to sex, so any pedophilia is by nature a rape, and thus assault; further it is an assault on a class of people which the vast majority of society feels we need to protect. Thus, pedophilia is morally wrong. Homosexuality is consensual (otherwise it is rape and as despicable as heterosexual rape) between two people capable of making such decisions. Comparing the two in terms of social harm or acceptance is impractical.

    Comparing them in terms of deviance is more rational, but equally impractical. Deviance as a basis for morality is necessarily the basis of relatavistic morality. Would you consider pederastic homosexuality to have been moral in classical Athens, where it was very common and even had a very wide social acceptance? Would you consider my attraction for older women rather than younger (a definite deviance from social norms and not conducive to a successful procreative relationship) to be immoral?

    Why is sexual deviance immoral, another kinds of deviance not? Personally, I think we should condemn left-handedness. It’s very common knowledge that while handedness is influenced by genetics, it can be taught socially. Left-handers who have their left hands cut off usually become very successful right-handers – they learn to write, type, answer phones – the works. It’s certainly a social and genetic deviance of no inherent value. And it may actually be evil. Consider that the word sinister shares an etymological and conceptual root with left-handedness. Left-handers, like red-heads, have traditionally been viewed as inherently in league with devil or otherwise prone to overthrow society. What’s up with that? I’m not really suggesting we cut off their hands or kill them, just don’t let them use their hands as a primary hand until their handedness has shifted, and perhaps ask them to breed a little less.

    Posted 30 Jun 2006 at 4:20 pm
  14. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Although I am loathe to make use of a theory I find despicable, I shall do so anyway as my personal blend of pre-Socratic/Empiricist/and recently Confucian philosophies is doing little good.

    There once was a man named Immanuel Kant. He was evil. However, because I say he’s evil you’re supposed to think he’s good. Okay. His theories spread throughout the land, especially his idea that religion was alright so long as no one tried to prove anything by it.

    Now, the evil Kant realized that there needed to be some basis for morality, and as religion and God were just plain out, he paced back and forth in his little house in the little town he never left (he actually didn’t go more than 50 miles from home in his entire life). Finally he stumbled upon a moral basis that he could accept– the “Moral Imperative”. And the people rejoiced (except for the Catholics) and the world became Kantian (until everybody, again except for the Catholics, decided morality was boring and quit worrying about what was right and wrong). And they all lived miserably ever after.

    A moral imperative is something everyone can, and must, do. Now, Kant believed that there were moral absolutes (or at least things we had to pretend were moral absolutes so that we could function). Basically, something is moral if everyone could do it and no adverse effects obtain. Singing is moral because if everyone broke out into “Always Look on the Brightside of Life” simultaneously, the worst that would happen is a collective migraine. Were everyone to start robbing banks the economy would be ruined (plus there wouldn’t be enough banks to go around, another problem for Kant).

    Now, if everyone started having sex with only members of the same gender the species would die out, which would be bad. Thus, Kant says, “Homosexuality is bad”.

    If you were a Kantian, you might be able to argue that bisexuality is okay, but that’s not gay marriage, now is it.

    In the end, the only philosophical basis for allowing homosexual acts is individualism, that is to deny moral absolutes. But if you deny absolute truths, I’ll deny your existence, and I’ll win by forfeit (non-existent people can’t debate).

    Posted 06 Jul 2006 at 2:12 am
  15. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Anthrakeus – the logic here is a little flawed. For example, is it moral for me to marry my fiancee? Clearly, everyone could not marry my fiancee, or the species would die out. (Wonderful as she is, she would not be able to maintain the world population.) But I hardly think that is a reliable argument to argue against the specific.

    A better example: is it moral to be a college professor? Clearly, if everyone were a college professor, we would have no farmers or doctors or blog hosts, and the species would die out. But I don’t think you will convince a lot of people that this is a good argument against universities.

    It would not be good for everyone to be a college professor married to my fiancee, but it’s okay for me or maybe someone else.

    Likewise it would not be good for everyone to be a monogamous homosexual, but as long as it’s not even a majority choice, than I don’t see it as a reasonable argument.

    Posted 06 Jul 2006 at 1:36 pm
  16. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Yours is a good argument against Kant. I will try to make him sound better. What Kant means to say is that bank robbery would be bad if it were done by any unspecified number of people. That number could be large, or it could be one. In any case, there would be negative effects which can best be seen in large numbers. However, the problem is that if a bank robber got robbed he’d be mad. This is the sort of universalization Kant is talking about. Sort of a golden rule kinda thing.

    Your first example doesn’t work. You’ve committed a fallacy within the Kantian framework (not that you can be blamed for failing to follow someone else’s rules). Basically you can’t mix general categories with specific categories (having only one member). “Men” is a general category (it covers a whole host of individuals), whereas “your fiancee” is a specific category. Now, all men could marry a member of a class to which your fiancee belongs (“woman”, “teacher”, “blond”, whatever she is) without problems.

    The second objection is better. Kant would likely distinguish direct and indirect causation of the result. Everyone becoming a college professor wouldn’t be bad because college professors cause harm. Now the lack of things other than college professors does cause harm, but that’s not the college professor’s fault.

    If everyone became homosexual this would directly result in no births, not just indirectly. This is principally because having children would be a moral imperative itself. Now, I’m not going to say everyone has to have kids, although Kant might. However, the only reason I can get away with not reproducing is because enough other people are to balance me out. Nonetheless, I have to support reproduction. Homosexuals do not.

    If no one were a farmer, we could get by as hunter-gatherers (good, no; but morally acceptable). If no one were a college professor we could get by. If no one had kids, there would be a big problem.

    Posted 06 Jul 2006 at 3:31 pm
  17. Bryan Davis wrote:

    So, following from this argument, it’s equally immoral in a Kantian framework to remain celibate?

    Posted 06 Jul 2006 at 6:08 pm
  18. Anthrakeus wrote:

    Kant might say this. However, the failure to do something is different from doing something contrary. If celibacy is bad so is homosexuality, but just because homosexuality is bad doesn’t make celibacy so.

    Keep in mind that Kantian ethics are anti-Christian (at least anti= in place of, if not anti= against). It’s not easy to prove Christian ethics with Kant.

    I was just arguing against homosexuality from a non-Chistian theory because the Christian ones weren’t working.

    Posted 06 Jul 2006 at 8:40 pm
  19. John wrote:

    There’s also the flaw carried in the assumption that exponentially increasing population is a good thing. While nobody having any kids leads to a species crisis, everyone having a lot of kids does too.

    The fact that our population is relatively flat is a very good thing. You want to avoid the situation that Europe is in whereby it’s facing a major population drop from low birthrates, but we can look to China to see a far worse scenario. Their population has grown so large that they’ve had to institute fairly drastic and draconian policies to stabilize it. The result will be that fourty years from now there will be a massively larger number of elderly chinese than young chinese.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 12:46 am
  20. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Fair enough, Anthrakeus. I was just attempting to undermine the non-Christian argument as well. 😉

    Just for the point, I believe Christian (Pauline) celibacy is as active as homosexuality is. It’s not simply failing to impregnate a woman, or waiting until the time is right, any more than homosexuals are failing to select the proper gender or waiting for that special woman to come along. It’s an active sexual decision (and perhaps one that’s an even more difficult and costly effort than monogamy).

    And John’s argument is another good counterpoint. In an all or nothing argument, overpopulation of the earth becomes as great a danger as underpopulation.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 7:58 am
  21. Anthrakeus wrote:

    I agree that celibacy isn’t simply passive (although I doubt most modern philosophers would).

    The problem in China was a too rapid reproduction rate. Mao Tse Tung liked very large families and didn’t like celibacy. During the Cultural Revolution everyone started having enormous numbers of kids, while at the same time undermining the sorts of economic systems that support them (even I admit it’s easier to have more kids in an agrarian society than in our own).

    Now, just because having too many kids is bad, doesn’t affect anything. Havin children is per se good. That it can have bad consequences does not make it immoral. You could give birth to a serial killer. Nonetheless, you still should give birth (not you personally, John :)). The act itself is good, nothing can change that.

    If we are worried that the economy can’t handle families of fifteen, then I have a simple solution: don’t get married. I’m not sure the ideal percentage of the population that should get married, but I know it’s a lot lower than it is right now. We should have at least twice (maybe three times) as many priests, and a whole lot more consecrated religious. In addition, there’s nothing wrong with being single in the world.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 9:34 am
  22. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Well, Kant might argue that the act itself cannot be morally justified, if it leads to the destruction of the society, eh? I think John, like I, was undermining the Kantian argument. I have to agree that it’s okay for people to remain single and celibate, but you’ve lost your original argument.

    Which is okay, if that’s what you’re doing. Just so long as Kant has been effectively undermined. 😉

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 1:25 pm
  23. Anthrakeus wrote:

    As I don’t like Kant, I can live with his argument being undermined.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 2:35 pm
  24. Funky Dung wrote:

    John Paul II seemed to have been rather fond of his idea, though.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 2:54 pm
  25. Funky Dung wrote:

    “Re: Homosexuality and Pedophilia – Pedophilia is rape. We assume that children cannot consent to sex, so any pedophilia is by nature a rape, and thus assault; further it is an assault on a class of people which the vast majority of society feels we need to protect. Thus, pedophilia is morally wrong. Homosexuality is consensual (otherwise it is rape and as despicable as heterosexual rape) between two people capable of making such decisions. Comparing the two in terms of social harm or acceptance is impractical.”

    Pedophilia is no more rape than homosexuality is sodomy. We must be careful to separately evaluate the attractions and the actions. That is why I have referred to both homosexuality (the attraction) and active homosexuality.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 3:09 pm
  26. Funky Dung wrote:

    “I can see where one could think that the origins of homosexuality play a part in the moral quality of homosexual action, but the point doesnt seem, to me anyway, immediately relevant to the situation of gays in the life of the Church perhaps I dont understand the point of the discussion?”

    Mental defects (whether congenital or acquired) often impair the will. Full consent of the will is a requirement for a sin to be mortal. Also, proponents of accepting active homosexuality often argue (and have done so in this exchange) that homosexuality is an aspect of human diversity – like eye color – and not a defect. Thus, I believe the origins of homosexuality are relevant to this discussion.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 3:15 pm
  27. Bryan Davis wrote:

    Pedophilia is no more rape than homosexuality is sodomy. We must be careful to separately evaluate the attractions and the actions. That is why I have referred to both homosexuality (the attraction) and active homosexuality.

    Fair enough. Please find/replace all in my above argument: pedophilia => active pedophilia (or even more specifically pederasty?)

    This is a good and healthy distinction, but not one that I think changes the shape of the discussion.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 6:27 pm
  28. Funky Dung wrote:

    “This is a good and healthy distinction, but not one that I think changes the shape of the discussion.”

    I think it does because it puts the focus on the neuro-psychological condition that causes the desire instead of the rather unpleasant consequences of acting on that desire. The main argument against my comparison of homosexuality to pedophilia has been that pederasty is cruel to children, who can never legitimately (validly? licitly?) reciprocate the eros they are exposed to. I do not deny that. What I am proposing is that the vulnerable nature of the objects of affection/lust is accidental (in the philosophical sense) rather than substantial. Specifically, I hypothesize that they have similar root neuro-psychological causes.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 6:45 pm
  29. Bryan Davis wrote:

    I think it does because it puts the focus on the neuro-psychological condition that causes the desire instead of the rather unpleasant consequences of acting on that desire.

    I see where you’re coming and going on that, as well, though, but I really think it’s a non-argument – by this line of reasoning “non-variant” malefemale attraction would also be a production of neuro-psychology, and then wouldn’t the validity or licity of heterosexuality be based purely on majority? (Unless you’re supposing that the two are caused by some defect or injury, which, while plausible, is, as far as I know, completely unsupported by evidence after numerous studies looking for just that.) In that case, what makes this a matter of morality and not left-handedness?

    Or if it must involve sexuality to be a matter of morality, why not a male attraction for older, rather than younger women? That also puts a person in the minority, does not tend to lead to successfully productive marriages, and could be biologically determined (I have no proof of that, but I don’t suspect that you will find any good evidence for a similar root physiological cause pedophilia and homosexuality).

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 9:18 pm
  30. Funky Dung wrote:

    “I see where you’re coming and going on that, as well, though, but I really think it’s a non-argument – by this line of reasoning ‘non-variant’ malefemale attraction would also be a production of neuro-psychology, and then wouldn’t the validity or licity of heterosexuality be based purely on majority? (Unless you’re supposing that the two are caused by some defect or injury, which, while plausible, is, as far as I know, completely unsupported by evidence after numerous studies looking for just that.) In that case, what makes this a matter of morality and not left-handedness?”

    There’s been a fair amount of research that’s shown structural and functional differences between gay and straight brains. There’s also been research that suggests that prenatal hormones affect sexual orientation.

    I’m not going so far as to tie mental defect to morality. I’m simply trying to short-circuit the argument that homosexuality is a natural part of human diversity. “It’s not immoral to prefer vanilla ice cream over chocolate, so why should it be immoral to prefer the same sax over the opposite?” Then the argument is extended to race. This brings the claims of bigotry back in the picture. To oppose gay marriage is likened to opposing miscegenation. My point all along, though, has been that claims of bigotry beg the question of whether homosexuality is not produced by one or more defects.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 9:31 pm
  31. Funky Dung wrote:

    To clarify:

    It is my opinion that homosexuality, is caused by one or more neurological and/or psychological defects. This is a testable hypothesis.

    If homosexuality is not caused by defect(s) and is actually analogous to skin color, then those of us who oppose active homosexuality must seriously consider the notion that we are indeed bigots.

    If homosexuality is caused by defect(s), then those who support active homosexuality must seriously consider the notion that homosexuality is a condition to be cured rather than a lifestyle to be protected and given equal treatment under the law.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 9:38 pm
  32. Funky Dung wrote:

    I hope you don’t see this as a cop-out, but I’d really rather not get side-tracked on ordaining women. If you write a post about this issue, let me know and we can take up this discussion in earnest. 🙂

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 9:43 pm
  33. Bryan Davis wrote:

    I hope you dont see this as a cop-out.

    I completely understand. Good debates have a bad habit of becoming infinitely complex. 🙂

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 10:03 pm
  34. Bryan Davis wrote:

    miscegenation

    Oh! New vocabulary for me! 🙂

    If homosexuality is not caused by defect(s) and is actually analogous to skin color, then those of us who oppose active homosexuality must seriously consider the notion that we are indeed bigots.

    If homosexuality is caused by defect(s), then those who support active homosexuality must seriously consider the notion that homosexuality is a condition to be cured rather than a lifestyle to be protected and given equal treatment under the law.

    That is reasonably fair. I would not insist on the term “bigot”; I think “wrong” would suffice that case.

    What I wonder at is why homosexuality, if a defect, is something that must be cured, any more than (per my above example) my baldness needs to be cured? I certainly consider it a defect (as does my fiancee), but it really doesn’t hurt much more than my self-esteem on a weak day, or my chances at developing skin cancer. I think we’d need firm argument that homosexuality poses harm to someone other than the practicing homosexual to urge any kind of reparative therapy for any but commercial reasons.

    It is my opinion that homosexuality, is caused by one or more neurological and/or psychological defects. This is a testable hypothesis.

    You are correct that this should be testable; again I would suggest that it has been tested and no evidence has been found to support it. This is based on memory – I can try to perform some Google research if desired.

    Im not going so far as to tie mental defect to morality

    But isn’t that exactly what you’re doing? You’re arguing that homosexuality is a mental defect, and that it is immoral? Or have I conflated your arguments with someone else’s on this post, and you are not claiming it is immoral?

    Theres been a fair amount of research thats shown structural and functional differences between gay and straight brains. Theres also been research that suggests that prenatal hormones affect sexual orientation

    Agreed. But unless one of those hormone levels is caused by disease, defect, accident, etc., I would suggest that this does not imply defect.

    There’s also structural and fuctional difference between male and female brains, intelligent and athletic brains, and some (unpopular) research would suggest between brains of different races. Difference does not imply defect, that I can see.

    Posted 07 Jul 2006 at 10:22 pm

Trackbacks & Pingbacks 3

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